Skip to main content

Full text of "Men Of Mathematics"

GENIUS  AND  STUPIDITY
people who will find it to their advantage to decipher all this
mess. Je fembrasse avec effusion. E. Galois.'
Confiding Galois! Jacob! was generous; what would Gauss
have said? What did he say of Abel? 'What did he omit to say
of Cauchy, or of Lobatchewsky? For all Ms bitter experience
Galois was still a hopeful boy.
At a very early hour on 13 May 1882, Galois confronted Ms
adversary on the 'field of honour'. The duel was with pistols at
twenty-five paces. Galois fell, shot through the Intestines, No
surgeon was present. He was left lying where he had fallen. At
nine o'clock a passing peasant took him to the Cochin Hospital.
Galois knew he was about to die. Before the inevitable perito-
nitis set in, and while still in the full possession of Ms faculties,
he refused the offices of a-priest. Perhaps he remembered Ms
father. His young brother, the only one of Ms family who had,
been warned, arrived in tears. Galois tried to comfort him with
a show of stoicism. 'Don't cry', he said, 4I need all my courage
to die at twenty.'
Early in the morning of 31 May 1832 Galois died, being then"
.'in the twenty-first year of Ms age. He was buried in the common
ditch of the South Cemetery, so that-to-day there remains no;,'
trace of the grave of iSvariste Galois. His enduring monument
is Ms collected works. They fill sixty pages. •